How I built my essential toolbox
Yep, I have got a new garage. The next thing I had to do was make it a functional one. I started by building my own essential toolbox. The tough part? Deciding what to put in it that will enable me to handle a variety of simple and major home improvement projects. Although I love working with my hands, there’s nothing like a well-stocked toolbox that allows me to do many tasks in my shop more easily.
I invested in quality tools, even if it was just one piece at a time.
I didn’t want to waste money on cheap tools that only turn out crappy after being used two times or so. I might have been able to get China-made tool sets for under $35, but before making that mistake, I had asked myself seriously if I could afford replacing them regularly with even more crappy tool sets after just a few uses. What I wanted in my toolbox were top quality tools from world-renowned makers who could stand by their products with a warranty and dependable customer service. So, I chose tough and durable tools to fill up my tool arsenal.
A fantastic tool box won’t be filled in a day, I realized, especially since I had intended to only have the finest items in it. If you can get a complete set of top quality tools, good for you. However, for those like me who do not yet have the luxury of a full budget, getting one quality tool at a time is not such a shameful thing. Breaking the bank by buying all your tools in one go is foolish so I simply spread out my acquisitions.
One good tip: watch out for holiday sales, such as those that involve handyman’s tools on Father’s Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. Those have been perfect times in which I was able to acquire good items at superbly low prices.
I got tools that any DIY worker would need.
I bought a top quality screwdriver set. A screwdriver is useful for anything, from prying paint can lids off to handling the battery compartment of a child-proof item. The set in my tool box comes with flathead and Phillips-head screwdrivers in a host of sizes. I had wanted comfortable grips and magnetic tips to go with them, and that was exactly what I got.
I also got locking, adjustable pliers. Also known as vise grips, they can be used in place of a wire cutter or wrench, or for clamping. I have a claw hammer for driving nails in and for pulling them out using the other side of the tool. The handle on mine is made of wood, but there are rubber, plastic, fiberglass or vinyl handles that I heard somewhere are better and also offer shock absorption for good measure. Metal handled ones are also available.
For loosening plumbing fixtures or tightening nuts and bolts, I decided to get an adjustable wrench. An electric drill is a must for driving screws and drilling holes, and even for grinding or sanding materials when outfitted with the right bit. I got mine, a corded one, during a Father’s Day sale years ago at my favorite online store, and it’s still going strong.
I got miscellaneous tool box items as well.
A tape measure is handy for sizing up workpieces or simply making sure furniture will fit through the door. The one I have in my toolbox is ¾-inch wide and 16 feet long, which is a good size for most home applications.
A worklight or LED flashlight, headlamp or work lamp lets me do work correctly even in low or poor lighting conditions. For sharpening pencils or opening boxes, a utility knife is my go-anywhere workhorse. Mine comes with integrated blade storage and comfortable rubber handles. I also have a hacksaw with easily replaceable blades. The level in my tool box allows me to hang items in a horizontally-perfect manner.
How about you? What tools do you think should be in the complete handyman’s essential toolbox?